In the sweltering heat of the African savanna, designing a school in the remote village of Mwabwindo meant prioritizing comfort for its occupants while at the same time harnessing the powerful rays of the sun to illuminate the building’s interior areas. With a limited budget, the project team had to eschew traditional solutions like shades and louvers and instead rely entirely on architecture to protect students and staff from direct sunlight. 

RDG conducted numerous daylight studies to determine how the sun would affect occupants during various times of the day and developed interventions that both blocked and dispersed light throughout the space so that the entire building could be used during daylight hours. Painting classroom walls white energizes learning spaces, allowing daylight to bounce and create a more even glow. Skylights in the center of the building bring light into central gathering areas while visually arresting perforated interior walls — originally decorative in nature — disperse the central light into otherwise dark corridors and interior rooms. Planted trees in select areas of the perimeter will provide additional shading opportunities as they mature.